By Karine Kalantarian
Law-enforcement authorities have still not arrested or charged anyone in connection with the recent murder of a senior Armenian prosecutor, the Office of the Prosecutor-General said on Wednesday.
Albert Ghazarian, the chief prosecutor of the northern Lori region, was gunned down outside his home in the regional capital Vanadzor on August 26. Armenia’s three main law-enforcement bodies pledged to save no effort to solve the extraordinary crime, forming a joint team of investigators.
They have so far avoided publicly commenting on possible theories of the crime, saying only that it was the result of Ghazarian’s professional activities. One of those theories revolves around the late prosecutor’s tense relationship with Lori’s formed longtime Governor Henrik Kochinian and Vanadzor Mayor Samvel Darpinian and his extended family. Both men are among local government officials figuring in a embezzlement case brought by the Lori prosecutor’s office in June.
In what was widely seen as an attempt to implicate Darpinian and his extended family in Ghazarian’s murder, police arrested last month a 24-year-old nephew of the mayor, Arman Darpinian, on charges of illegal arms possession. They also rounded up and questioned employees of a Vanadzor restaurant owned by the young man. Several of the employees claimed afterwards that investigators beat and intimidated them in order to force them to accuse their boss of orchestrating the killing.
The Office of the Prosecutor-General initially denied the embarrassing allegations but later pledged to investigate them as the scandal gained a public resonance. A spokeswoman for the law-enforcement agency, Sona Truzian, told RFE/RL that a relevant criminal case has already been formally opened but that nobody has been accused of torture yet.
Truzian also insisted that neither Arman Darpinian nor anybody else are officially considered to be suspects in the murder inquiry.
(Photolur photo: Albert Ghazarian.)